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Silas Eastham

(1824-1901), Photographer

Artist of 1 portrait

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James Fraser

by Silas Eastham
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s
NPG Ax38636

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Alan Hampson

01 September 2016, 23:23

Silas Eastham was born in Mellor, near Blackburn, Lancashire, on 6 May 1824 and was one of three brothers who, initially employed in a cotton mill, decided to take up photography (the others being John and Enos Eastham). He moved to Manchester, where he married Jane Ingham at the Cathedral on 13 Apr 1850. They had eight daughters and a son, all born in Manchester or Salford between 1851 and 1864. He set up a studio at Queen's Chambers, 7 Market Street, Manchester and around 1868 opened another in Southport, at 217 Lord St. Some surviving prints show both addresses, but by 1873 he was solely based in Southport, handing over the Manchester studio to his brother Enos. In 1870, his daughter Jane married James Yoxall, the son of a Cheshire farmer, in Ormskirk. Silas had apparently trained James while in Manchester and made him his assistant in Southport. Silas became a Liberal Councillor for Talbot Ward in 1871, retiring after 3 years. In 1884, he decided to appoint son-in-law James Yoxall as his successor at Lord St and emigrated to New Zealand, arriving in Auckland on board the SS "Doric" on 12 June, after a two-month voyage. Prints made at Lord St after this bear the Yoxall name, with "late Eastham" appended. Silas, though now retired, still took an interest and produced albums of photographs showing some of New Zealand's beauty spots and dramatic landscapes, which he sent back to Southport. They were displayed at the museum and art gallery there for many years, but the collection seems now to have been lost. He died in Auckland in 1901, aged 77, and was buried at O'Neill's Point Cemetery.

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